THE STATE OF LUXURY WATCH E-COMMERCE
Luxury watch brands are slowly catching up when it comes to direct-to-consumer e-commerce. But the few of them who are ahead – Richemont and LVMH – who have decided to speed up their online strategy, are widening the gap.
More than just selling online, their direct-to-consumer approach allows them to significantly grow their knowledge on consumers, grasp fast-changing behaviors, adapt services on a client-centric basis, and overall master the customer experience, from online to offline.
Based on primary research conducted by DLG Data & Analytics team, this report aims to be a neutral and factual review of the 62 luxury and premium watch brands identified by DLG for its WorldWatchReport Benchmark. For this study, only the watch segment is taken into account: jewellery and accessories segments have not been included.
Part 1: E-commerce landscape
We first deep-dived into the e-commerce landscape, unveiling surprising facts on market distribution and social shopping, among other things.
We found out that over 40% of luxury watch brands are presently offering direct-to-consumer e-commerce, and not only relying on third parties or wholesalers. E-commerce for luxury watch brands remains tightly consolidated and “close to home” with half of brands only venturing into Western Europe and the United States.
Part 2: E-commerce services
Based on an in-depth analysis of 27 criteria, we then established the most differentiating service offerings when it comes to e-commerce experience (e.g., we take mobile-optimization initiatives as as given). It includes topics such as content, on-demand support, delivery options, exclusivity. The UK, market number 2 in which most of the luxury watch brands are offering direct-to-consumer services, is used as a point of reference.
Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Bell & Ross and IWC are among the brands offering the most seamless e-commerce experience on their owned channels.
- Only 40% of luxury watch brands are presently offering direct-to-consumer e-commerce.
- E-commerce for luxury watch brands remains tightly consolidated and “close to home” with half of brands only venturing into Western Europe and the United States.
- Brands that have risen to the top have a higher affiliation with other mature e-commerce product categories (i.e., beauty, accessories, and jewelry) and are applying those learnings, creating a sense of urgency for the broader industry as the bar rises. Among them: Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Dior.
- The omni-channel experience is a key point of consistency across e-commerce enabled brands, from pick-up in-store to returning in-store.